Why You Must Visit Paraty, a UNESCO Heritage Site

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Paraty | Discover Your South America Blog

Why You Must Visit Paraty, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Brazil

Paraty is an enchanting Brazilian gem that has been revelling in the spotlight lately. This is because, in the summer of 2019, Paraty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a much-coveted status that protects beautiful, treasured destinations around the world. But travellers in the know have long gushed about the wonders of this delightful colonial town, found in a magical location on the Costa Verde (Green Coast) between the Serra da Bocaina Mountains and sparkling Atlantic Ocean. So, if the sound of cobbled lanes, centuries-old houses and access to pristine beaches appeals, then keep reading to find out why you must visit Paraty in Brazil.

Paraty | Discover Your South America Blog
Paraty (Pixabay)

Visit Paraty for… the setting

Picture this: tangles of lush green forest clinging to the mountain slopes, with swirls of mist floating whimsically above, guarding over a small settlement that looks out over glittering, azure sea. This privileged location is the setting for Paraty, and it’s even more beautiful in real life than you might imagine. The Serra da Bocaina Mountains are carpeted in Atlantic Rainforest, flaunting an inland fiord called Saco do Mamanguá. The region is also dotted with waterfalls like the Tarzan Falls, Tobogã Falls, Poços do Penha and Poço das Andorinhas, many of which you can swim beneath to cool off from the heat. At some, there are even ropes so you can swing into the water! And, if wild swimming is your bag, then you’ll love the beaches that unfold for mile upon mile here.

Saco do Mamanguá | Discover Your South America Blog
Saco do Mamanguá (Pixabay)

Visit Paraty for… the beaches

Paraty flaunts access to a raft of stunning beaches, most of which are wonderfully wild and natural. There are so many golden bays to choose from, including the spellbinding Praia Cão Morto, where the Atlantic Rainforest segues into the sea. You might want to opt for a boat trip to see several beaches in one day, such as Praia da Lula, Praia Vermelha and Praia de Santa Rita. This way, you can enjoy a spot of snorkelling to take a glimpse at the underwater world, in-between relaxing moments spent sunbathing on the unspoilt sands.

Paraty beaches | Discover Your South America Blog
Semilla Luz ‘Praias de Paraty’ [CC BY 2.0]

Visit Paraty for… watersports

The seas surrounding Paraty are prime for trying out watersports. You could head to Barra do Corumbê to learn stand-up paddle boarding, absorbing the special energy of this natural haven. Another excellent way to explore Paraty is by kayaking; you could paddle from one bay to the next, reaching mangroves like those across from Jabaquara Beach, with the chance to get to hidden corners and secret coves, such as Saquinho do Corumbê. There are also opportunities for diving, discovering shipwrecks, reefs and colourful marine life. Or you could get your adrenaline rush by heading inland for white-water rafting down the Mambucaba River, in Serra da Bocaina National Park. You’ll be spoilt for choice for watersports here!

Paraty boats | Discover Your South America Blog
Paraty boats (Pixabay)

Visit Paraty for… heritage

It’s not just fun activities and picturesque landscapes that await on a trip to Paraty. The town itself is a real delight, with colonial Portuguese architecture from the 17th century reflecting Paraty’s boom years – this was the port where gold was shipped out to Europe. As you wander through town, you can’t help but be charmed by the whitewash walls framed by brightly coloured doors and frames, topped with pretty tiled roofs and carved up by cobbled lanes. These pedestrianised streets will lead you at some point to the Church of Santa Rita and Plaza Matriz, though be sure to take a detour up to Morro da Vila Velha to explore the Defensor Perpétuo Fort, dating back to 1703.

Paraty | Discover Your South America Blog
Rodrigo Soldon, ‘Paraty’ [CC BY-ND 2.0]

Visit Paraty for… quaint fishing villages

Paraty isn’t the only charming settlement on the Costa Verde. There’s a string of fishing villages to uncover too, including Trindade, situated 25km south of Paraty. After taking a boat to reach Trindade (or intrepid travellers might want to opt for the six-hour hike), you’ll have seafood shacks to keep you fuelled up, natural swimming holes to cool off in, and not one, but five different beaches to choose from. Adopt the easy-going attitude, order a drink and soak up the laidback vibes.

Trindade | Discover Your South America Blog
Ana Paula Hirama, ‘Trindade (Praia do Cachadaço) – RJ, Jan2015’ [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Visit Paraty for… moreish seafood

It’s no wonder why, with such vast access to the Atlantic Ocean, Paraty is known for its fishing and therefore its incredible seafood offerings. There are upscale restaurants, casual eateries and beach shacks throughout the region, many serving the fresh catch of the day in typical Brazilian style. In particular, Prainha is a traditional fishing village that is particularly celebrated for its seafood, so pull up a chair and prepare for some seriously mouth-watering cuisine.

Visit Paraty to… discover Ilha Grande

One of the best things about visiting Paraty is the chance to hop over to Ilha Grande, a beautiful, car-free island smothered in green forests and encircled by immaculate beaches. It’s wonderfully unspoilt, with just a smattering of lodges nestled between the trees overlooking the sea. While here, spend your days on hikes through Atlantic Rainforest, swimming at any of the amazing beaches, and hopping over to nearby uninhabited islands; bliss.

Ilha Grande | Discover Your South America Blog
Jean-Marc Astesana ‘Ilha Grande, Brazil’ [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Start planning your trip to Brazil today using Discover Your South America, a free online tool that allows you to build your itinerary first-hand. Handpick the hotels and activities you want, adjust the durations depending on how long you want to stay in each place, and have fun in the process! Surtrek is always at hand to help out. Call us on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to an expert, and Discover Your South America with Surtrek!

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